Not penalising private home owners

Instead, says Mah Bow Tan, Govt making things more equitable for both them and HDB flat owners, alike

The recent cooling measures have resulted in an “anomaly”, Non-Constituency MP Sylvia Lim told Parliament yesterday, noting that while a Housing and Development Board (HDB) flat owner can own private property after the Minimum Occupation Period (MOP), but a private property owner has to sell his property within six months of buying an HDB flat.

In response, Minister for National Development Mah Bow Tan said the Government was not penalising private property owners but making it more “equitable” for both HDB and private property owners.

He pointed out that in the past, subsidised HDB flat owners could not buy private property until after five years, whereas a private property owner could own both private and HDB properties at the same time.

Mr Lim Biow Chuan, MP for Marine Parade GRC, wanted to know why private property owners who bought HDB flats, after the new rules kicked in, would have to dispose their private property when they intended to live in their HDB flats during the MOP of five years.

Mr Mah said there were people who wanted to “have the best of both worlds” – keeping their private property and renting it out while living in an HDB flat. However, he added that there was “a genuine need from first-timer couples for HDB resale flats and I think we should let them have first crack at it”.

About 3 per cent of HDB flat owners – or 24,000 flat owners – own both private property and HDB flats.

Mr Mah added: “If you already own private property, please don’t, at this point in time, compete with the others to buy HDB resale unless you are genuinely downgrading.”

The Minister said many flat owners caught up in the “upgrading fever” in the nineties were hit by the financial crisis.

Mr Mah reiterated that the new measures did not disadvantage upgraders or investors as there was ample public and private housing supply in the pipeline. The measures were timely to encourage them to exercise greater financial prudence and think carefully about their purchases, he said.

As for MP for West Coast GRC Ho Geok Choo’s question on whether there would be enough executive condominiums (ECs) and flats under the Design, Build and Sell Scheme (DBSS) to cater to the needs of those with a monthly income of $8,000 to $10,000, Mr Mah said HDB was ramping up the supply of land sites for DBSS and ECs.

HDB plans to release land sites for about 7,000 DBSS flats and 8,000 ECs in 2010 and 2011.

In two years, HDB will triple the current stock of 4,000 DBSS flats and double the current stock of 10,000 ECs that have been launched for public sale since the start of the scheme.

Source : Today – 16 Sep 2010

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